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    LEADING CRANE HIRE COMPANY FINED

    Crane collapsed onto hotel and operator seriously injured

     

    Select Plant Hire Company Ltd has been fined £100k and ordered to pay £33k in costs for failing to provide the necessary training for a crane erection team and those carrying out thorough examination of the crane after assembly and before use.

    The prosecution arises from a incident on 3 June 2007 when the crane collapsed onto an occupied hotel in Croydon, near London. The crane operator was left stranded for several hours before being rescued. He suffered multiple injuries and now suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.

    The court heard that the jib of the tower crane toppled backwards and became detached from the mast during an operation to extend the height of the tower crane from 60m to 98m, using a climbing frame. The team employed to extend the height of the crane had not used the equipment before and had not had any specific training in its use.

    At the time of the incident there were approximately 140 residents, customers and staff in the hotel. The crane narrowly missed a gas pipe in the plant room on the roof of the hotel. 

    Amanda Huff, HSE Inspector, said: “This incident was avoidable and was caused by inadequate training of the team asked to extend the height of the crane. This is a high risk operation and it is essential that operators have the right type of training.”

    Prosecutor, Oliver Glasgow said: “Only gravity was keeping them safe and any pressure in any direction would cause it (the crane cab) to fall off.  No one thought to address how the crane was being held in place.” Judge Anthony Morris said: “I don’t understand how this could ever be used as a safe way of working. I am trying to work out how it could ever be conceived that this would work.”

    Comment: A detailed sequence of photographs taken by a passerby show how the incident unfolded, the moment of collapse and rescue operations.

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